“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
-1 Corinthians 13:7
Valentines day is upon us. A day in which both married couples and dating couples celebrate the love and romance that they have found in each other. As a single person, I have spent many a year bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have a girlfriend. Pathetic yes I know, but I couldn’t help myself.
Lately though, God has been challenging and teaching me about just what loving another person really involves. It is not just about what you do or say when you are having the warm fuzzy feelings towards that special someone, it is also about how you act and what your heart does when you are angry at, hurt by and all out frustrated by, that person.
This is why Paul tells us in the verse above that love “bears all things…endures all things.” This means that if I genuinely love someone, not just like, and not just infatuated with, I will not run when things get tough and the “rubber meets the road” as the old expression goes. It means that I am required to forgive my future wife when she hurts me, be patient with her when she is upset and angry with me, and commit to work it out with her.
The first three chapters of Hosea show us this in an extreme form. God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer, as an illustration of how He loves the nation of Israel despite their worship of other gods. Hosea marries Gomer and then must go after her when she goes back to her old ways of selling her body. Hosea never gives up on Gomer and loves her unconditionally. It may be one of the most powerful examples of what true love looks like in the Bible, and functions as an allegory for how much God loves us.
True love is only true if it stirs in our hearts a desire to sacrifice for the better of the person we love, putting our own needs and desires aside and placing their needs ahead of ours. True love then, is always selfless and never selfish. It means that you trust that person deeply and completely.
This is why getting married is probably one of the top two most important decisions any of us will make in our entire lives. So as my thoughts tonight are very brief I will sum things up this way: if you are married tonight and reading this, allow yourself to be challenged by Paul’s words to remember each and every day that your marriage is not about you, it is about how you sacrifice for your spouse. If you are like me, single, or in a dating relationship at the moment, allow Paul’s words to prepare you for your decision one day about whom you marry. Ask yourself, is this a person I can see myself laying my own will and desires down for on a daily basis?
I can tell you that I have been challenged to look at things a lot differently lately because of this passage in 1 Corinthians 13, and I hope you will allow it to do the same for you. Ultimately then, Valentines Day is about sacrificial love, and the way in which we demonstrate that love to other people. May you love well, not only today, but every day for the rest of your time on earth.